2018 is The Year of Stevie Nicks.
The gypsy queen of rock ‘n’ roll — and of fashion — will celebrate her 70th birthday on May 26, just three months after MusiCares will honor her as Person of the Year. 2018 also marks the fortieth anniversary of the first two albums released by her legendary band, Fleetwood Mac. Putting all these landmarks in a poignant light, the band has hinted that their upcoming reunion for a global tour might be their last.
The band formed in 1967 and quickly set themselves apart with their inimitable instrumentation combined with lyrics about deepest heartbreak and hope. Warm and raspy, Stevie Nicks’ signature singing style is now iconic along with her singular fashion sense. Many have credited her with inventing the folksy, bohemian-inspired style that spread like wildfire through the ’60s and ’70s, and which is as hot on the runways now as ever.
Both sonically and visually, Fleetwood Mac’s aesthetic was truly alchemic. Stevie played with witchcraft emblems and fairytale elements, fearlessly adorning herself with fringe and ruffles, mixing and matching sensual fabrics, and adding fingerless gloves and platform boots to artfully tattered dresses.
One of her most masterful songs, “Gypsy,” actually references the Velvet Underground, which was a San Francesco clothing store frequented by the likes of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, and Stevie herself. “I needed a uniform,” she explained. “I’ll be very, very sexy under eighteen pounds of chiffon and lace and velvet. And nobody will know who I really am.”
As the band’s success grew, she began sampling flea markets wherever they traveled, adding select items to her sartorial tapestry. Twirling shawls and trailing scarves became an essential part of Fleetwood Mac’s stage presence, adding to the artistry and allure. Stevie would theatrically leave the stage multiple times throughout a show (often right in the middle of her bandmates’ solos) and return in a complete wardrobe change.
Her appreciation for the unique character of articles of clothing was contagious. Ponchos, berets, and blanket coats all took on a life of their own, combining richly with soft suede and shimmering velvet. (If this is sounding a lot like Paris Fashion Week, that’s absolutely spot on! Her style is as timeless now as ever.) These days, she likes to add a celestial note in the form of a crescent moon necklace, often dressing all in black.
Echoes of “the Stevie Nicks look” can be seen on modern performers from Florence Welch to Beyoncé. Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, and Sandra Bernhard are also Fleetwood Mac fans. Taking their appreciation to the next level, “Night of a Thousands Stevies” is an annual dance party in New York, where attendees dance to Fleetwood Mac inspired tunes and shake tambourines to demonstrate admiration for their heroine.
On the runways, four decades of designers have drawn inspiration from the sort of attention to detail that drove Stevie to Southwark’s Borough Market looking for authentic Victorian lace in the ’60s. Chloé, Anna Sui, and Ralph Lauren are just a few labels that have deliberately channeled “The Fairy Godmother of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Stylistically, Stevie Nicks has always gone her own way. In the process, she continues to inspire others to do the same. — jas